Articles are reproduced with thanks from the Archdiocesan website, unless otherwise stated.


6 May 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has decided that it is not in the public interest to continue investigating an anti-discrimination complaint against Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops.

The decision by Commissioner Robin Banks follows a voluntary withdrawal of the complaint by complainant, transgender advocate and Greens political candidate for the upcoming federal election, Martine Delaney.

Ms Delaney lodged a complaint in November 2015 under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tas) about the distribution of the Don't Mess With Marriage booklet, which was a pastoral letter from the Australian Catholic Bishops outlining the Church's teaching on marriage, in Catholic schools in Tasmania.

The complaint was made against Archbishop Porteous and all the Australian Catholic Bishops, and followed a call to action by Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome, who urged teachers and parents to make a complaint to Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner about the pastoral letter.

The reason complainants were encouraged to make complaints in Tasmania is because its anti-discrimination laws are the broadest in the country. The laws make it an offence to engage in conduct which offends, humiliates or insults someone on the basis of their sexual orientation if it is reasonable to anticipate that person might be offended, humiliated or insulted.

10 Novemer 2016

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18 March 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Terry Brady has told a Senate inquiry [into human trafficking] that human trafficking and slavery is a terrible consequence of economic and social exclusion.

In a submission to the inquiry made on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Bishop Brady, Chair of the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Life, said that exclusion was the result of a number of factors.

"It is the result of not recognising the human dignity of each person, so people are treated as an object or a means to an end," he said. "It happens because people are in poverty and don't have access to adequate education or employment. It is caused by putting money and not people at the centre of the economy."

The Commission made the submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement last month.

"One approach that should be investigated as part of a community awareness strategy is the United Kingdom's Modern Slavery Act, which uses information to shine a light on the exploitation of workers. Under the UK legislation, businesses that reach a minimum turnover must issue an annual report on what they are doing to ensure their business and supply chain is not involved in human trafficking and the exploitation of workers.

24 March 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

Children have a right to be children, away from harms that can be inflicted on them by being exposed to pornography.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference made this assertion in a submission published last week by the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications. The Standing Committee was tasked with inquiring into, and reporting on harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet, with particular reference to trends of online consumption of pornography by children and their impact on the development of healthy and respectful relationships, current methods taken towards harm minimisation in other jurisdictions, and the effectiveness of those methods, the identification of any measures with the potential for implementation in Australia and any other related matters.

The submission was prepared by the Bishops Commission for Family, Youth and Life (BCFYL) earlier this month and published by the Standing Committee this week.

"We live in a sexualised culture where pornography has been mainstreamed. There is significant use of sexualised images in areas of advertising, music videos and computer games. Many of the images that confront children in day-to-day life are based on poses used in pornography.

11 March 2016

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese

"Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral - and not simply an economic - act." Pope Francis.

Christine Carolan, the Executive Officer of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH), one of the Slavery-Free Easter Chocolate Campaign members, said buying slavery-free chocolate at Easter gave people a chance to take a stand against human trafficking and slavery. Slavery-free chocolate is chocolate that is free from exploitative labour practices.

ACRATH is asking Australians, particularly in Catholic parishes and schools, in the lead up to Easter to consider what chocolate they buy and eat at Easter. Ms Carolan said many supermarkets in Australia are selling slavery-free chocolate this Easter.

ACRATH reports that much of the chocolate that finds its way into shops and homes in Australia is made from cocoa from plantations in the West Coast of Africa. Presently children as young as 12 years old are the ones picking those cocoa beans in order to make the chocolate eaten by Australians.

Some of these children are trafficked. Most of the children are forced to pick cocoa from an early age for minimal or no wages, for long hours, in dangerous work conditions, without any possibility of attending school.

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